Online Physical Therapy Degree Programs
Find out about the kinds of online programs available in physical therapy and the prerequisites you need to enroll in one. Learn about courses offered and the current employment outlook in the field.
What Online Programs Are Available in Physical Therapy?
If you already hold professional physical therapy experience but wish to earn an advanced degree, you can complete an online transitional doctorate program in physical therapy. The DPT program is usually intended for licensed physical therapists who hold a postsecondary degree and professional experience. Undergraduate and master's degree programs in physical therapy are currently not offered online.
|Programs Available Online||Doctor of Physical Therapy degree (DPT)|
|Procedure||On-campus residency first, assignments, quizzes, exams online, communicate via discussion boards and chat rooms|
|Coursework||Advanced science and fitness, management, administrative responsibilities|
|Career Information||Doctorate might be required for PT professionals in future, increase in PT jobs higher than average, strong salary projections|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||28% growth (for physical therapists)*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$87,930 (for physical therapists)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics'
How Do Online Programs Work?
You can take courses for the doctorate program in physical therapy online, but you might need to attend a residency on campus before beginning the program. The residency usually allows you to network with faculty members and physical therapy professionals.
You typically can complete all assignments, quizzes and exams entirely online. You can communicate with other students through discussion boards and chat rooms. Technology requirements for the online physical therapy program often include a sound card, speakers, Adobe Flash Player and Apple QuickTime. Some online systems have limited compatibility with Macintosh computers; you're advised to check the requirements of the schools you're considering.
What Are Classes Like?
Physical therapy doctorate courses typically build from your current physical therapy expertise and cover advanced science and fitness subjects, as well as exploring management and administrative responsibilities. You can demonstrate your knowledge of the material through projects, write-ups and case studies. Common doctorate-level physical therapy topics include:
- Patient screening and evaluation
- Imaging technologies for physical therapists
- Health care management
- Advanced physiology
- Opening an independent practice
- Physical therapy research
How Will the Doctorate Help My Career?
With your DPT, you might be able to earn a higher salary as a physical therapist and even establish your own practice. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) reported that earning a doctoral degree in physical therapy could become a future requirement for physical therapy professionals, so the DPT program can properly prepare you for this change.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), physical therapy jobs were projected to increase 28% from 2016-2026, which was much higher than average, when compared to the growth rate of all U.S. occupations (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that physical therapists made a median wage of $87,930 in 2018.